Ordination of women


#1

I am sadly uniformed in many matters relating to our church. I have learned a lot just from reading the knowledgeable and informed posts on this forum. I feel a calling to evangelize. I accept the Church’s teachings on all controversial subjects. While I accept the Church’s position on the ordination of women, I do not understand why it is impossible. Given the current shortage of priests, this would appear to be a solution. Why is it impossible?


#2

Here you go:

Ordination Sacerdotalis -

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

RESPONSUM AD PROPOSITUM DUBIUM
CONCERNING THE TEACHING
CONTAINED IN “ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS”

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: Affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.


#3

There have never been women priests, yet there was not always a shortage of priests (and the shortage we have is not universal). I would think that looking at what went wrong to cause such a shortage and fixing that would be a better solution than caving in to secularism.


#4

I thought one of the reasons the Church doesn’t ordain women priests is because Christ didn’t.


#5

If you truly feel a calling to evangelize,it is not necessarily a call to the priesthood; there are many ways in which to evangelize. I found teaching in a catholic school a very challenging, but rewarding form of evangelization.


#6

Exactly. :thumbsup:

Christ didn’t ordain any of his closest female followers, not even his Mother. His Mother knew who he was since the begining. She believed in Him before anyone else, yet even she was not selected to be ordained.

Christ did not select Women for a reason. We might not know what that reason truely was, but that’s what he did. And to the reply, “well that was because of the times,” I say phooey! :smiley:

Christ is God, he knows all. If strongly believe if he wanted female priests he would have selected at least one female.


#7

You can also evangelize here on the internet, in your Parish, through Catholic organizations, etc.

There has never been a better time for the lay people to evangelize than now. And perhaps never a more important time.

God Bless.


#8

When did Jesus explicitly ordain anyone?


#9

May be mistaken with this, but I believe on Pentecost, after his Ascension, when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles… I believe that was the first time Holy Orders was conferred. If I’m not mistaken, this is why ever since, there must be the laying of hands during the receipt of Holy Orders… to pass on the Holy Spirit (received during this Pentecost) from the ordained to the newly ordained.

Regardless, the Seven Sacraments were created and established by Christ himself.

God Bless.


#10

No, Pentecost was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – the first Confirmation.

Holy Orders was established at the Last Supper, when Jesus told the apostles to “do this in memory of me.” Actually, to be more precise, let me re-phrase that to say that the priesthood was established at the Last Supper.


#11

I believe you are correct. That is why the Priests and Deacons state the renewal of their Holy Vows during the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.


#12

I saw this on Catholic memes today, so don’t shoot the messenger, but this perfectly sums up my reaction:


#13

There are many opportunities for a laywoman to evangelize including CCD and RCIA.
There are many short and long term volunteer missionary positions available in the US and abroad. There is also St. Paul Street Evangelization (very effective, not a big time commitment). Additionally, the Lay Dominicans is a preaching order. They accept women.


#14

Christ is male. The Church is his spouse so we call the Church “her”.
Priest represents Christ who is a male; therefore, only male are ordained as priests.
This is a reason I can think of, in addition to the fact that all the Apostles were male. :smiley:


#15

Thank you for your thoughtful replies. I’m not sure how this ended up in the Vocation sub-forum but it may have led to a misunderstanding. I am a recently retired male interested in evangelization. In discussing our faith with lapsed Catholics, the topic of ordination of women comes up. Most people can understand the Church’s stand on abortion and the sanctity of marriage, but female ordination seems quite innocuous. Perhaps I should rephrase my question: Would the ordination of women alter the fundamental nature of the Church so much that it could never happen?

Not sure how to use the quotes facility so bear with me. Thanks for the references Jose. I have since read them. It is unequivocal that at the present time: the ordination of women is impossible. Pope John Paul II has so declared and every Catholic has to abide by it under risk of excommunication. My further question is: since this is a Declaration and not an Infallible statement, does it mean that it could never ever be reversed by a future pope?

M134, I certainly do agree that reasons for the current shortage of male priests in the West should be addressed and fixed, regardless. I also agree that the Church should not cave in to secularism.

It is true that Jesus did not “ordain” women and I’m not sure that the position of the proponents of female ordination that He was constrained by his cultural milieu can be dismissed without careful consideration. We live in a time of great change and one moreover where the rate of change is accelerating. Fifteen years ago, it would have been impossible technologically for us to communicate as we are now doing. The role of women in society has likewise changed.


#16

If Jesus was constrained by His cultural milieu, He wouldn’t have been crucified. He scandalized people by eating and drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors, healing on the sabbath, and touching lepers not to mention calling Himself the Son of God and even God–which were all cultural taboos–but yet, we’re supposed to believe He didn’t ordain women because He was constrained by the culture?:rolleyes:

As Pope Francis noted in Evangelii Gaudium, it is because the male priest represents Christ the Spouse, who offers Himself in the Mass for his Bride. Likewise, priests and bishops in terms of governing the Church represent the fatherhood of God and are to be spiritual fathers to their flocks.


#17

It is an infallible declaration. It is declared so under the Infallible Ordinary and Universal teaching of the Church. Which means that it is infallible as the handing down of teachings directly received by the Apostles from Christ

Here is the response that then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) when the question of the nature of this declaration came up.

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: Affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, **it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium **(cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect

Here is more information on the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium of the Church

“A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.”

For more information about the Infallible Ordinary Magisterium, that most clearly outlined in Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 25


#18

I think there can be a mistake made by non-Catholics (and Catholics who are not well versed in their faith and surrounded by non-Catholic influences) that suggests that somehow priests are the only leaders in the Church. There is a huge level of misunderstanding about the hierarchy of the Church. The Pope is seen as a political leader who wields tremendous power, rather than a servant. In non-Catholic churches, especially churches without a sacramental theology, the “pastor” or “minister” is often someone who is knowledgeable about Scripture, a charismatic speaker, who can also handle administrative tasks. Sometimes the minister is even elected, either by the whole congregation or by a group of elders. Of course a woman can be knowledgeable about Scripture, be a charismatic speaker, and do administrative tasks! But all of that is actually a tiny tiny part of what a priest is - and many people don’t understand that.

I say this as a convert who once vehemently supported the ordination of women.


#19

Genesis, I have skimmed through the Evangelii Gaudium and Pope Frances is definitive:

“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.”

Brendan, it would appear that it would be impossible for a future pope to sanction the ordination of women. Thanks for your perspective, Pens.

Well, no one ever said that evangelizing was a walk in the park. Now I wonder why the priesthood is not open to married men – but I think I’ll save that for another post.


#20

That one is easy - it has been the discipline of the Latin Church for centuries (but not always) that the priesthood should be unmarried (never married, or widower). The Eastern Catholic Churches do not necessarily follow this discipline.

Should the pope chose to, he could change the discipline to allow those already married to become priests. It should be noted that once ordained (Latin or Eastern - including deacons in the Latin Church and sub-deacons in the Eastern Churches) a man can not validly receive the sacrament of matrimony according to the Code of Canon Law in the Latin Church without a dispensation.


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